I’m so sorry. I wish you didn’t need to smoothen this page of A4 paper you printed and folded so neatly just hours ago – now feeling its grain pass under the most distal portions of your reach. Already, an ulnar deviation of your right hand finds less friction on the greyeen surfaces of the tray table wedged above your knees, aluminum hinges tottering almost imperceptibly beside the frost-rilled window of an A330. Having these things said to you to this way, you might be tempted to pause… perhaps flip through the duty-free catalogue wrenched from the seat before you, roll ink into the gawky architectonics of block lettering on a landing card. Is it time for one more in-flight meal to fill the sprawl between time zones? Would you like another sparkling water? Go ahead, mouth it eccedentiastically: “no ice.”
How nice to have the window seat and settle into the somnolence of flight. So easy… the familiar comfort of watching the ground pattern itself towards abstraction. Though this time something’s different – more uncontained and obscure than you remembered it. You don’t, for instance, recall this tramontane scramble of clouds. And, why in the world is it so dark? After all, it’s always sunny skies on Google Earth. Looking down, you were prepared for the horizon’s disappearance by a quasi-natural visual paradigm: the bird’s eye view that peregrinates across a billion browsers. No big deal, we can concede that a peacock’s plumage only iridesces under certain skies. But this is a different set of contingencies altogether. What you’re seeing isn’t a queasy mélange of photographs twined and torqued by an endless pull of topographic data. Functionally? Let’s not even go there. An aerial view resembles avian vision about as much as the letter O approximates a yolk. There’s something perhaps absent in all this pareidolia, isn’t there?
Look, maybe the problem is that we’ve never met. I know a spot where we could, if you’re so inclined. Vaguely unrelieved, but it’s not exactly nowhere: the kind of place Time Out might accord ★★★. Be assured, it’s perfectly comfortable, and it’s right there at 51.5086° N. Its longitude? Well… trust me, you couldn’t miss it. You’ll see it, maybe sense something other: a park bench not far from the entry to an altogether varying regime of optics and ideologies. Subjacent, in ’65, The Ipcress File popularized the first scene shot in an underground car park. Someone passing by might tell you that it’s not far that London felt their first fluttered visitations. You’ll have heard them: Rose-ringed parakeets as they unsettle a sovereign management of the natural world. Unbelievable too…The African Queen’s long nuit américaine. Add this to the list of things demanding downward-canted glances: la perruque, parquetry, parks, and so forth.
Okay. So, what I wanted to tell you can’t be said in a language of my making. But, I can proffer a glossary with no words for definitive origins and detached gazes. This is a parakeet index – an alternate language of Hyde Park to complement your own:
A ck-A ck-A ck
^ Manic-pixie +1
ARK! ARK! ARK!
Cries that are coined neither by the tongue nor by the lips